What is Integrative Psychotherapy?
Integrative psychotherapy draws from several theoretical perspectives to help a client understand and cope with their own situation in the way that is most meaningful for them. My own theoretical integration is that of Psychoanalysis, Neuropsychology and Attachment Theory.
Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach: takes the view that emotional difficulties stem from unresolved experiences and internal conflicts. This approach to therapy aims to provide the time and space to speak as openly as possible about your current difficulties, memories, dreams and past experiences.It can help develop understanding of the connections between previous experiences and present difficulties and to gain awareness of emotional and behavioural patterns that may no longer be helpful. Often these patterns may be outside of our awareness and the therapy enables unhelpful patterns to be made conscious and so provides the opportunity for different choices.
This form of therapy can bring increased freedom to choose how we respond to ourselves, in relationships and to events in our lives. Regular sessions are valued as they provide continuity and the consistent support needed to develop trust and a commitment to working together with the therapist. The process can enable internal patterns to be modified, to develop our potential and and a stronger sense of self, to make long-lasting changes that may be desired and considered as beneficial.
Neuropsychology: looks at the relationship between early relational experience and brain development and the impact of that experience on our ability to manage our emotional life. It also looks at the human propensity to look for patterns and similarities in situations and can give insight into our feeling that sometimes our lives are repetitive in terms of relationships and our experiences.
Attachment Theory: again looks at early relationships and their impact on our present experience.
All three theoretical approaches very much combine in the idea that our life experience is often early set but that with understanding and exploration we can begin to make different choices and create new and improved meaning for ourselves.
I also use techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to work with some of the symptomatic issues of anxiety and trauma to offer practical measures of dealing with these symptoms as they arise. I believe it is not possible to address the underlying issues therein without first of all managing the acute discomfort of anxious and traumatised states.
When would therapy be useful?
Therapy can be useful at all sorts of times. Sometimes people have had a lot of therapy and return for ‘top ups’ at times when perhaps old patterns begin to re-emerge or when they feel they need support or even just a change of therapist for a different perspective.
Ultimately therapy is useful at any time that life becomes difficult to manage and the reasons for that are always entirely individual. There is no situation that feels important to the client that would be considered not important ‘enough’by the therapist. The process of therapy is client led and what brings the individual to want to seek help is always justified.
How long does therapy last?
An initial consultation provides the opportunity to discuss whether a limited number of sessions or open-ended therapy would be helpful, depending on individual needs. Some people come with specific difficulties of a recent nature and are helped with time-limited, focused counselling. Others may have emotional difficulties that have troubled them for some time or may feel confusing and can be helped with longer-term counselling or psychotherapy. Regular sessions as well as more frequent sessions if needed, provide consistent support for working more gradually on a deeper level. This process offers the possibility of long-lasting change
How frequent are the sessions?
Sessions are usually attended weekly on the same day and at the same time. Ocassionally people require more than just one session a week and this is certainly possible should it feel appropriate or necessary. The sessions last 50 minutes.